Research and information needs assessment to support sustainable watershed management in the South Coast and West Coast Natural Resource Regions, British Columbia.

Published online
03 May 2017
Content type

Scherer, R. & Redding, T. & Ronneseth, K. & Wilford, D.

Publication language
British Columbia & Canada


The B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) conducted a research and information needs assessment survey to help identify specific knowledge gaps and develop strategic priorities for research to support sustainable water resource management in the South Coast and West Coast Natural Resource Regions of British Columbia. In total, 216 individuals who were familiar with surface water and/or groundwater issues in these two regions completed all or portions of the survey and identified priority topics for research, monitoring, data collection, and policy development. The survey was conducted from 20 October to 30 November 2015. This report is the third in a series of regional assessments that are being conducted across British Columbia. The first regional assessment was completed in northeastern British Columbia; the second was completed in the Thompson-Okanagan Region. Survey respondents most frequently identified the following priority research and management needs: surface water quantity research on low-flow magnitude and timing, rainfall timing and rates, peak flow magnitude, and snow accumulation; climate change effects on all aspects of water quantity, water supply, and water quality. Also highlighted was the need to better understand how extreme events such as drought and floods will affect water quantity, water quality, aquatic ecosystems, and natural resource development hazards; understanding and management of cumulative effects and land-use effects on all aspects of surface water, groundwater, aquatic ecosystems, and natural resource development hazards; groundwater quantity research on surface water-groundwater interactions, and aquifer identification and characterization to quantify the availability, magnitude, and extent of groundwater resources; requirement for water budgets and water consumption/use data to improve the understanding of water availability/withdrawals to ensure the sustainable allocation of both surface water and groundwater; and environmental flow needs for fish-bearing streams, temperature-sensitive streams, and land-use activities in riparian areas. More than 65% of the respondents identified online access to data, online access to georeferenced data, hydrometric monitoring data, and online access to analysis results/products as a high priority. Written responses also highlighted the need for increased hydrometric monitoring of surface waters as being very important. Key policy and regulatory needs that were identified included groundwater regulation and groundwater resource inventory to determine resource availability and quality, and threats to sustainability. The following were also identified as key policy and regulatory issues: increased monitoring of water consumption and use to better allocate surface water and groundwater to support sustainable water supply; government funding to increase regulatory requirements and capacity to enforce regulations to protect water; additional information about the implementation of the 'Water Sustainability Act' and how the Act will maintain and/or protect water sources; integrated and watershed-scale planning to ensure that land-use activities do not negatively affect community water supplies; and increased requirements for improved stormwater management to minimize land-use effects on water. Respondents also identified the following as emerging pressures and issues: reducing uncertainty about climate change effects on water supply for both consumptive and aquatic ecosystem uses; identification of drought and water storage requirements; the need for increased government capacity and funding to improve resource management and monitoring; the need for improved groundwater regulation, licensing, and monitoring; implementation of the 'Water Sustainability Act'; and the need for sustainable allocation of water supplies. The survey results identified many of the same themes and topics that were identified in previous reports. In addition to this report, a database of data sources, information sources, and relevant research projects and publications from British Columbia and adjoining jurisdictions was compiled. The database is intended to provide a first stop for researchers and managers in locating key water resource information of regional relevance.

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